Smartphone-related posture injuries are on the rise — here's how to prevent them

text neck smartphone black and white portrait of a stressed woman suffering from pain
kmiragaya / 123RF Stock Photo
Smartphone user complaints about neck and back pain from Forward Head Posture (FHP), also known as text neck, are on the upswing, Reuters reports. Thankfully, there are ways to minimize your chances of injury.

Surgeons at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles published a study in The Spine Journal that showed posture-related injuries from smartphone use are increasing.

“In an X-ray, the neck typically curves backward, and what we’re seeing is that the curve is being reversed as people look down at their phones for hours each day,” study co-author Dr. Todd Lanman told Reuters.

According to the surgeons, when you hold your head looking forward in a neutral position it weighs 10 to 12 pounds. When you’re looking down at a smartphone it can feel like 27 pounds. In addition to being a pain in the neck, your spine gets hit, too, where the effect is the same as a 60-pound weight.

“By the time patients get to me, they’re already in bad pain and have disc issues,” Lanman said. “The real concern is that we don’t know what this means down the road for kids today who use phones all day.”

Texting with smartphones causes more problems than watching videos or browsing online, according to Lanman and co-author Jason Cuellar. The angle of the neck is even worse for most people when sitting than standing.

The surgeons are particularly concerned about younger people using smartphones. “For today’s users, will an 8-year-old need surgery at age 28?” Lanman asked. “In kids who have spines that are still growing and not developed, we’re not sure what to expect or if this could change normal anatomies.”

How can you prevent or lower your chances of getting text neck yourself? Safer smartphone postures include holding your phone higher and using both hands when you’re texting.

The doctors also recommended using computer screens at natural eye level, whether sitting or standing — and that includes laptops, so you will likely need a separate keyboard and monitor to maintain the best posture. Stretching, exercises to strengthen the neck and shoulders, and regular breaks can also help and are highly recommended.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Plant-based shoes and a ukulele learning aid

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

We tried all the latest and greatest smartphones to find the best of 2019

Smartphones are perhaps the most important and personal piece of tech on the planet. That’s why it’s important to pick the best phone for your individual needs. Here are the best smartphones you can buy.
Product Review

Can Walmart extinguish Amazon’s Fire with the cheap Onn Android tablet?

There aren’t many Android tablets under $100, so the Walmart Onn is an attractive prospect. With near stock Android and the Play Store on board it has the potential to be an Amazon Fire beater, but what’s it like to use?
Product Review

The ZenFone 6 has a flippable camera and is unlike any other flagship phone

Asus is embracing the 2019 trend of not following any trends at all and instead going in its own direction. The ZenFone 6 has a motorized flip-around camera, a 5,000mAh battery, and an almost stock version of Android installed.
Deals

Need to reduce dentist visits? Philips’ Sonicare electric toothbrush is $30 off

If you’re looking to improve your oral hygiene and save a few dollars along the way, Amazon is currently offering the Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4100 Plaque Control for only $40.
Deals

Before buying an Apple Watch, check out this cheap smartwatch under $100

Not looking to spend hundreds of dollars on a smartwatch? You might want to consider this little-known but well-reviewed cheap smartwatch from Amazfit called the Bip. It's on sale on Amazon, and you can have it in one day if you're a Prime…
Product Review

Samsung's $99 fitness tracker takes on Fitbit. Can it keep pace?

Samsung’s going toe-to-toe against Fitbit’s Inspire HR with its own $99 fitness tracker -- the Galaxy Fit. It also has a heart rate monitor, can automatically detect six workouts, and has a battery that can last for days.
Emerging Tech

A medical superglue alternative is made from Chinese giant salamander goo

Forget medical superglue! Harvard researchers have discovered a special natural adhesive that's able to seal up wounds, made from goo excreted from the skin of Chinese giant salamanders.
Emerging Tech

Custom 3D-printed heads let doctors practice delicate brain procedures

Radiotherapists who operate to remove brain tumors could benefit from being able to practice on specific patients ahead of time. Thanks to customized 3D-printed heads, now they can!
Health & Fitness

Stop waking up groggy every morning. Snooze smarter with the best sleep gadgets

Do you snore? Toss and turn? Alternate between extremely hot and extremely cold body temperatures at night? A deluge of smart sleep technology on the market aims to help you get a better night of shut-eye.
Emerging Tech

This lifesaving wearable could diagnose strokes more accurately

A new breakthrough wearable device uses two light measurement techniques to track the body's blood circulation — and accurately predict deadly strokes in the process. Here's how it works.
Deals

The 10 best computer reading glasses to help reduce eye strain

Eye strain, headaches, and dry eyes are all side effects of too much exposure to blue light and screen glare. Get yourself a pair of computer reading glasses to help relieve the discomfort.
Outdoors

The best smart helmets are full of cool tech, and totally worth the messy hair

Helmets might be a haircut's worst nightmare, but they're constantly evolving, and have undergone a 21st-century makeover. No matter your sport, here are the best smart helmets currently on the market.
Emerging Tech

Live long and prosper? Experimental compound could slow down the aging process

Want to extend your natural lifespan beyond its current limits? A metabolite of biomolecules — found in pomegranates of all places — could help slow the aging process. Here's how.